From Clearwater to Blue River 115 (681) 1104 HM (7165) July 14, 2015
It's all about rhythm, and this issue will be touched again and again. (Dave, I still don't know where everything is, newly bought provisions seem to get everything mixed up again and again 😉 )
I left Clearwater at 6:10 and felt great - I knew I'd either do 50 to Avola or 100 to Blue River and everything went fine: it was cool at 17C, the road was flat (mostly), my legs felt fine and I was ready to abandon myself to the rhythm of cycling. After stopping for a hot cup of coffee and talking to a group of young guys, some of whom were obviously of "first nations" origin - and on their way in three cars to fire fighting up north - I settled into a wonderful rhythm: legs relatively fast but comfortable, breathing smooth, heart rate around 130 -140, I felt just great. Soon I came to a junction and my gps told me that there was a 30 km stretch away from the highway with its noise and I took the chance, knowing it would probably slow me down. It was the highlight of the day! After 3 km it turned to gravel and was blissfully quiet - fields, farms, sheep with their friendly watchdogs, steep but short inclines and just what the car-infested roads did not offer. After 30km I had to return to the highway but with little traffic. I can only repeat that drivers are mostly careful and go out of their way to give me safety!
After about 50 km (it was only 10:30!) I decided to go the whole 100 and it was easy. I took my time and the rhythm was perfect. Short breaks for food and even a longer break in which I lay down plus electrolyte-loaded water got me to Blue River easily by 2.30 pm. I dropped in at a grocery store and met the owners: the elderly gentleman could not answer my question about the nearest campground and when his wife came, she told me that her husband had forgotten everything, he suffers from dementia. But they held hands and she was obviously glad for him that I showed patience when he decided to try and tell me a story from many years back (sorry, I didn't really get the story ...) When I prompted the lady to tell me more she said that they had been married for 61 years and had always lived in Blue River and that not many people lived here anymore. The school had about 50 students in the 1990s but now there were only 10. Reasons? The train pulled off several staff and their familes, the police department was closed, the logging business is greatly reduced mainly due to an illness of the trees (Mountain Pine Beetle) ... and the main business today is tourism, especially in winter, but the people who organize the events are from out of town - so the town is slowly dying, just like all the small towns I have come through so far.
A group of young firefighters on their way north
Going in my direction this train took 15 minutes to get past me. I stopped for it at a crossing